Such an odd thing to call a wedding: happy. You’ve heard them called beautiful, memorable, terrbile, awesome, long, short, expensive, cheap, good, bad, whatever. But before we start critiquing the bride’s dress (and how on earth did she think those seat sashes would match the placecards?!?!) we really need to be worried about the happiness on the day.

In my career as a celebrant I’ve seen quite a few unhappy brides and grooms. Whether it’s parents freaking out because it’s not in a church (god bless the parents) or a lost guest six suburbs away, the custom designed napkins are in the groomsmen’s car (at his house) or the rain has come out and the photographer doesn’t really do rain.

I’m biased at this point, so please read this and understand that I’m a marriage celebrant, but I think that all of that stuff just doesn’t matter. None of it. Even all of the other stuff that never made it to that shortlist above. None.

The only thing that truly matters on the day is that the bride and groom are happy about entering into this union. Not “ok with it” or even consenting. Of course consent is required, but if there is only consent, or even an attitude of “let’s get this over with” then (in my opinion) you’re missing out on the day.

And that’s why weddings are (should be) happy. Because there’s two kids in love and we all think that’s just awesome.

So how do you get there … ya’ know … in case you’re worried about being unhappy at your wedding?

  1. Delete everything that doesn’t matter. Like right now as I type these words I actually had a whole different list and deleted it because it didn’t matter. It didn’t add to the blog post. It didn’t improve the article. It didn’t add value. So I deleted it. It wasn’t neccasary. And in it’s place I wrote this little ditty because I felt it mattered. So delete the wedding cake if you don’t eat cake and delete the bridal party if you want to save your closest friends some money and etc etc – don’t delete things because I said so, delete because you’ve just realised that they don’t add value to your marriage celebration.
  2. Add in what matters. What kind of atmosphere do you want to celebrate your union in? Then choose things that alter the atmosphere of an event: like when it is, where it is, the “sound” of the event (this is that DJ versus band argument), how much beer is being served. Add all of this in because it’s important to you.
  3. Let your stakeholders know what is important to you and what’s not. Stakeholders is a fancy business term for parents and other people that could hate the idea of your DJ wearing a bowtie or other controversial wedding trends.
  4. Smile.

It seems too simple. But all of the unhappy brides and grooms I’ve met, and talked to after the fact, had expectations they didn’t communicate. They wanted to delete things but said nothing. And they wanted to add things but (wait for it) said nothing. Then when things didn’t happen, they became unhappy.

Also, a final point is this: it’s only a wedding, not brain surgery. If it all goes to hell it doesn’t matter, as long as you married your best friend. Then you’re happy.

{The feature image on this post is by Paul Bamford at Finch and Oak Wedding Photographers}